Important Patterns

One of the most important and useful sources of inspiration for designing this house came from the work of Christopher Alexander. Alexander and is associates wrote some interesting books in the 1970 that, while dated in language and in some ideas, are based on timeless notions of form-follows-function. He studied what worked and what didn't over long periods of time, asked deep questions about why these things worked, what problems they were solving, and how they made people feel. Out of this he developed a preliminary set of patterns which address design issues from the regional level on down to the construction if individual dwellings.

I found his work helpful because it gave me a language to use when talking and thinking about our design. While Alexander himself doesn't consider the list of patterns in A Pattern Language to be complete or even right, taking it all with a grain of salt and your own common sense one can still find this very useful. What follows is a list of the patterns we tried to incorporate in our design. The numbers are those Alexander uses to identify the patterns in his book.

Pattern Name Pattern Number
Positive Outdoor Space 106
Wings of Light 107
Connected Buildings 108
Main Entrance 110
Half-hidden Garden 111
Entrance Transition 112
Car Connection 113
Hierarchy of Open Space 114
Cascade of Roofs 116
Sheltering Roof 117
Archades 119
Stair Seats 125
Intimacy Gradient 127
Indoor Sunlight 128
Common Areas at the Heart 129
Entrance Room 130
The Flow Through Rooms 131
Short Passages 132
Staircase as a Stage 133
Zen View 134
Tapestry of Light and Dark 135
Couple's Realm 136
Children's Realm 137
Sleeping to the East 138
Farmhouse Kitchen 139
A Room of One's Own 141
Sequence of Sitting Spaces 142
Bulk Storage 145
Light on Two Sides of Every Room 159
Building Edge 160
North Face 161
Galery Surround 166
Six-foot Balcony 167
Connection to the Earth 168
Alcoves 179
Window Place 180
The Fire 181
Eating Atmosphere 182
Cooking Layout 184
Sitting Circle 185
Bed Alcove 188
Dressing Room 189
The Shape of Indoor Space 191
Windows Overlooking Life 192
half-open Wall 193
Interior Windows 194
Corner Doors 196
Closets Between Rooms 198
Sunny Counter 199
Open Shelves 200
Waist-high Shelves 201
Build-in Seats 202
Child Caves 203
Secret Place 204